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Game Thread #74: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers

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The surging A's look to clinch a big road series against the division rival Rangers with a win behind young arm Kendall Graveman (2.27 ERA since returning to the big leagues).

Kendall Graveman and his two-seamer: a match made in heaven.
Kendall Graveman and his two-seamer: a match made in heaven.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Kendall Graveman has had quite the roller coaster of a season.

Graveman, sent to the A's in the winter's Josh Donaldson blockbuster, had been coming off of a breakout season in the Blue Jays' organization. He looked primed to continue this breakout after a dominant Spring Training with his new club. However, he received a harsh wake-up call as big league bats smacked him to the tune of an 8.27 ERA with more walks than strikeouts over his first four career big-league starts. This earned him a demotion to Triple-A Nashville.

Upon arrival in the Music City, Graveman returned to his dominant self, posting a 1.85 ERA over four starts and earning a return to the big leagues. Since, he has looked strong once more, with a 2.27 ERA over six starts. However, a 92.5% strand rate over those six starts indicates there might be some luck involved, as does his 3.99 FIP (3.56 xFIP) over that span. No worries, though - the 24 year-old still has plenty of room to grow and improve.

Opposing Graveman is the crafty veteran lefty Wandy Rodriguez. W-Rod is experiencing a career resurgence in Texas, after two consecutive seasons marred by injury. His 3.20 ERA (3.77 FIP) over eleven starts is surely a pleasant surprise for the Rangers, who signed Wandy to a minor league deal late during the spring.

This afternoon, the red-hot Athletics will look to take down the second-place Rangers on their quest to .500. They hope to continue to look more like buyers than sellers in a relatively weak American League. First pitch is at 5:05 PM PST. Let's go A's!

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S TEXAS RANGERS
Billy Burns - CF Rougned Odor - 2B
Mark Canha - LF Ryan Rua - RF
Stephen Vogt - 1B Prince Fielder - DH
Ben Zobrist - 2B Adrian Beltre - 3B
Josh Phegley - C Mitch Moreland - 1B
Billy Butler - DH Joey Gallo - LF
Brett Lawrie - 3B Elvis Andrus - SS
Marcus Semien - SS Leonys Martin - CF
Sam Fuld - RF Carlos Corporan - C
Kendall Graveman - RHP Wandy Rodriguez - LHP